The Age of Atheism: How We Have Sought to Live Since the Death of God, by …

Some contemporary thinkers have argued that the decline or disappearance of religious belief leads to a thinning of one’s inner life. In effect, the wholly secular are missing out; they lack — and here Watson paraphrases and quotes the philosopher Charles Taylor — “a sense of wholeness, fulfillment, fullness of meaning, a sense of something higher; they have an incompleteness . . . ‘a massive blindness’ to the fact that there is ‘some purpose in life beyond the utilitarian.’ ” After all, once basic needs are met, people desperately want their lives to have meaning. In the words of anthropologist Clifford Geertz, “The drive to make sense out of experience, to give it form and order, is evidently as real and pressing as the more familiar biological needs.”

Watson’s book concentrates on those brave souls “who, instead of waiting and wallowing in the cold, dark wastelands of a Godless world, have

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